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Despite an elevated risk of psychopathology stemming from COVID-19-related stress, many essential workers stigmatise and avoid psychiatric care. This randomised controlled trial was designed to compare five versions of a social-contact-based brief video intervention for essential workers, differing by protagonist gender and race/ethnicity.
We examined intervention efficacy on treatment-related stigma (‘stigma’) and openness to seeking treatment (‘openness’), especially among workers who had not received prior mental healthcare. We assessed effectiveness and whether viewer/protagonist demographic concordance heightened effectiveness.
Essential workers (N = 2734) randomly viewed a control video or brief video of an actor portraying an essential worker describing hardships, COVID-related anxiety and depression, and psychotherapy benefits. Five video versions (Black/Latinx/White and male/female) followed an identical 3 min script. Half the intervention group participants rewatched their video 14 days later. Stigma and openness were assessed at baseline, post-intervention, and at 14- and 30-day follow-ups. Trial registration: NCT04964570.
All video intervention groups reported immediately decreased stigma (P < 0.0001; Cohen's d = 0.10) and increased openness (P < 0.0001; d = 0.23). The initial increase in openness was largely maintained in the repeated-video group at day 14 (P < 0.0001; d = 0.18), particularly among viewers without history of psychiatric treatment (P < 0.0001; d = 0.32). Increases were not sustained at follow-up. Female participants viewing a female protagonist and Black participants viewing a Black protagonist demonstrated greater openness than other demographic pairings.
Brief video-based interventions improved immediate stigma and openness. Greater effects among female and Black individuals viewing demographically matched protagonists emphasise the value of tailored interventions, especially for socially oppressed groups. This easily disseminated intervention may proactively increase care-seeking, encouraging treatment among workers in need. Future studies should examine intervention mechanisms and whether linking referrals to psychiatric services generates treatment-seeking.
Many healthcare workers do not seek help, despite their enormous stress and greater risk for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This study screened for psychopathology and evaluated the efficacy of a brief, social contact-based video intervention in increasing treatment-seeking intentions among healthcare workers (trial registration: NCT04497415). We anticipated finding high rates of psychopathology and greater treatment-seeking intentions post-intervention.
Healthcare workers (n = 350) were randomised to (a) a brief video-based intervention at day 1, coupled with a booster video at day 14; (b) the video at day 1 only; or (c) a non-intervention control. In the 3 min video, a female nurse described difficulty coping with stress, her anxieties and depression, barriers to care and how therapy helped her. Assessments were conducted pre- and post-intervention and at 14- and 30-day follow-ups.
Of the 350 healthcare workers, 281 (80%) reported probable anxiety, depression and/or PTSD. Participants were principally nurses (n = 237; 68%), physicians (n = 52; 15%) and emergency medical technicians (n = 30; 9%). The brief video-based intervention yielded greater increases in treatment-seeking intentions than the control condition, particularly among participants in the repeat-video group. Exploratory analysis revealed that in both video groups, we found greater effect among nurses than non-nurses.
A brief video-based intervention increased treatment-seeking intention, possibly through identification and emotional engagement with the video protagonist. A booster video magnified that effect. This easily disseminated intervention could increase the likelihood of seeking care and offer employers a proactive approach to encourage employees to search for help if needed.
Antidepressant medication and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) are both recommended interventions in depression treatment guidelines based on literature reviews and meta-analyses. However, ‘conventional’ meta-analyses comparing their efficacy are limited by their reliance on reported study-level information and a narrow focus on depression outcome measures assessed at treatment completion. Individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis, considered the gold standard in evidence synthesis, can improve the quality of the analyses when compared with conventional meta-analysis.
We describe the protocol for a systematic review and IPD meta-analysis comparing the efficacy of antidepressants and IPT for adult acute-phase depression across a range of outcome measures, including depressive symptom severity as well as functioning and well-being, at both post-treatment and follow-up (PROSPERO: CRD42020219891).
We will conduct a systematic literature search in PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase and the Cochrane Library to identify randomised clinical trials comparing antidepressants and IPT in the acute-phase treatment of adults with depression. We will invite the authors of these studies to share the participant-level data of their trials. One-stage IPD meta-analyses will be conducted using mixed-effects models to assess treatment effects at post-treatment and follow-up for all outcome measures that are assessed in at least two studies.
This will be the first IPD meta-analysis examining antidepressants versus IPT efficacy. This study has the potential to enhance our knowledge of depression treatment by comparing the short- and long-term effects of two widely used interventions across a range of outcome measures using state-of-the-art statistical techniques.
The hippocampus plays an important role in psychopathology and treatment outcome. While posterior hippocampus (PH) may be crucial for the learning process that exposure-based treatments require, affect-focused treatments might preferentially engage anterior hippocampus (AH). Previous studies have distinguished the different functions of these hippocampal sub-regions in memory, learning, and emotional processes, but not in treatment outcome. Examining two independent clinical trials, we hypothesized that anterior hippocampal volume would predict outcome of affect-focused treatment outcome [Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT); Panic-Focused Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (PFPP)], whereas posterior hippocampal volume would predict exposure-based treatment outcome [Prolonged Exposure (PE); Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); Applied Relaxation Training (ART)].
Thirty-five patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 24 with panic disorder (PD) underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) before randomization to affect-focused (IPT for PTSD; PFPP for PD) or exposure-based treatments (PE for PTSD; CBT or ART for PD). AH and PH volume were regressed with clinical outcome changes.
Baseline whole hippocampal volume did not predict post-treatment clinical severity scores in any treatment. For affect-focused treatments, but not exposure-based treatments, anterior hippocampal volume predicted clinical improvement. Smaller AH correlated with greater affect-focused treatment improvement. Posterior hippocampal volume did not predict treatment outcome.
This is the first study to explore associations between hippocampal volume sub-regions and treatment outcome in PTSD and PD. Convergent results suggest that affect-focused treatment may influence the clinical outcome through the ‘limbic’ AH, whereas exposure-based treatments do not. These preliminary, theory-congruent, therapeutic findings require replication in a larger clinical trial.
This chapter addresses the complex inter relationships between anxiety disorders (ADs) and personality disorders (PDs), including diagnostic controversies, patterns of comorbidity, and prognostic implications for treatment. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) created five axes for diagnostic classification, including Axis I for illnesses such as ADs and Axis II for PDs. The presence of an Axis I state disorder may confound diagnosis of Axis II trait. The biopsychosocial model suggests that illness arises from the interplay of genetic, trait, and environmental influences. PDs are less prevalent than ADs. Limited information exists on the comorbidity between ADs and PDs in the general population. Available data suggest that PD comorbidity among ADs is common, except in the case of specific phobia. Current evidence yields more questions than answers, due in part to the complexity of assessing PDs and the labor and expense of large-scale, longitudinal studies.